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Montréal, QC – At a press conference this morning, retiree members of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation [Union Coalition for Free Negotiation] made public a letter addressed to Premier Philippe Couillard concerning Bill 3 on pension plans. The retirees, who joined the ranks of the Coalition this summer, wrote the letter to express their increasing frustration and the urgency of taking action since the parliamentary commission in late August. “Mr. Couillard, if you assumed that seniors would not be stepping up to join the protest, you were sorely mistaken,” stated their representatives.

We, the retirees, will be present en masse at the major demonstration taking place on Saturday, September 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Montréal. We will be standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow citizens of all ages, current and future retirees, children and families. Together, we will expose Bill 3 for what it is. It means the degradation of Quebecers’ rights, the impoverishment of retirees and the breaking of signed agreements in addition to jeopardizing workers’ right to a decent pension,” said Jean Carette, spokesperson and vice-president of Réseau Espaces 50+, surrounded by representatives of numerous other retiree groups.

Selected excerpts of the letter to the premier are provided below. The full text is available online at: http://bit.ly/YEe7Pq

In addition to organizations of retired former municipal employees, major retirees’ organizations including AREQ, AQDR, FADOQ and AQRP, which together represent hundreds of thousands of Quebec seniors, have tabled documents adopting a highly critical stance with respect to Bill 3 and called in a single voice for the withdrawal or redrafting of the proposed text.

“We have been extremely disappointed by Minister Pierre Moreau’s refusal to discuss the issues raised and proposals brought forward through the Commission. […]

“We consequently call on you urgently to: withdraw Bill 3 immediately in its current form; […] submit for consideration the platform for a decent pension brought forward by the Coalition formed in 2011 and currently representing 70 organizations seeking significant improvements to the Québec Pension Plan, which would also help to relieve the burden of defined-benefit pension plans. […]

“Mr. Couillard, do not allow the obstinacy of your government to lead to a social crisis. That is not what we seek, and we therefore ask you to think carefully about the overall issues raised by what, in our opinion, is already a serious political mistake.”

The retired members of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation include: Espaces 50+, Regroupement des syndicalistes à la retraite affiliated with the FTQ Regional Council for Metropolitan Montréal, Regroupement des syndicalistes à la retraite affiliated with the FTQ Regional Council for Laurentides-Lanaudière, Les Retraités du 429 (white-collar workers for the City of Montréal), Regroupement des retraités cols bleus de la Ville de Montréal, Organisation des retraités du transport de Montréal (STM managers, white-collar workers and drivers) and Organisation des retraités du transport de Montréal (STM maintenance workers) as well as the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress).

The Coalition comprises a total of more than 65,000 members including white and blue-collar workers, firefighters, police officers, professionals and public transportation employees. It represents virtually all unionized municipal employees in Quebec. Its platform and a full list of member organizations are available on the Internet at librenego.com.

Information: Sébastien Goulet, Communications, Coalition, 438-882-3756 – sgoulet@scfp.qc.ca